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Old 02-05-2013, 04:30 PM   #21
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I think it's even lower than that. I remember hearing 1 in 800 for Saskatchewan minor hockey players. Calgary is probably around 1 in a thousand.
Right. Let's say 13,000 is close to the number of kids participating.

Kids range from about 6-17, so we are talking about 1,000 kids per year.

If Calgary produces one NHLer per year, then it's 1 in 1,000
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:22 PM   #22
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Training at the highest level of any sport costs a lot of money. In some ways hockey is cheaper because there is so much infrastructure in Calgary. I have friends whose daughter swims competitively (she was #2 in Alberta when she was 10-13 years old). It cost them thousands of dollars every year in training costs, coaching, additional pool time, fundraising, etc. My niece, who is 9 years old, is now competitively ski-jumping. The costs right now are manageable, however, within the next 2-3 years they skyrocket.

The point is, for most sports, especially ones that require a lot of infrasture, it's going to cost a lot of money and time if you want to be the best.

I was pretty fortunate in that my boys (twins) generally played at lower levels. For the most part hockey was just fun, and still is. There was never any pressure on them (or me) for extra training, money and stress. Meanwhile, I have friends whose kids are now competing to get into AAA hockey and the politics, costs, stress and time commitment is ridiculous. Especially considering that their chances of playing even one shift in a NHL pre-season game is basically zero and their chances of getting a scholarship to a college or university aren't that much better. I often feel sorry for the thousands of kids who are really good at hockey but just not quite good enough to get a scholarship or play in the NHL.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:00 PM   #23
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I think it is a sad state of affairs when they are telling kids that young that they are elite. Minor hockey has always had ugly politics and this only makes it worse. It has become more of a status symbol to have a kid in an "elite" program and it is going to make it tough for a late blooming kid due to the fact that he hasn't been part of the "elite" social system since he was 6. There are going to be some excellent athletes that are left behind and sub-standard athletes playing on rep teams just because they've been part of the so-called team for this long.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:07 PM   #24
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I hope that it is accpetable to start this thread in the FOI.....

I am sometimes stunned at the lack of discussion with respect to Minor Hockey on here (perhaps there are only a few of us with kids playing right now).

anywyas, I came across this somewhat interesting article about the cost of spring hockey - can't say much in the article was surprising other than perhaps the length's that some folks go to to make elite hockey happen for their 10 yr old:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/sports/amateur/spring-fever-189487451.html
What a great article.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:51 PM   #25
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The OP was in regards to spring hockey, which is a whole different can of worms then minor hockey, so lets stick to that, I will outline some of the differences. Spring hockey is essentially unsanctioned, meaning no residential rules regarding where kids play. Also no governing body such as Hockey Alberta to handle discipline, officiating, game times etc... As well most spring clubs are private "for profit" businesses.

I became involved in spring hockey in 2006 with a 6yr old. Back then there were only a handful of teams around. Top Guns, S A selects, Foothills Elite and the Wolverines. It was at the time considered AAA. Less then three years later there were nearly 10 teams. The focus was no longer on giving kids high level competition which really lackss until pee wee in many areas, but on, making money and parents trying to avenge hurt feelings. anyone with an ice time and 12 friends with kids became a AAA spring team. If your kid was cut from one team you just went to a different team, or stated your own. If a coach benched your kid, you just went to a different team or started your own. Spring hockey, like so many other kids activities became a showcase for the parents. Back in 2006 local tournaments such as the Stampede Challenge and the showdown in in Cowtown were top level competition having 6 or so teams in each age group with teams coming from Vancouver, Minnesota etc... 2009 would feature 8 teams in three divisions in nearly every age group tiered in to gold, silver and bronze no longer AAA, the teams were nearly all from Alberta as well. The the hockey was no longer elite competition.

Spring hockey tournaments are a full time job for the promoters, as the linked article mentioned. The same groups run tournaments all over from Edmonton to Winnipeg to Las Vegas which are usually poorly organized, poorly officiated and. There sole objective is to make money, and parents don't seem to care.

The costs vary from club to club depending n the number of tournaments, ice times and amount of travel. As well as track suits, jerseys bag, gloves etc.. but what has also happened over the years is that teams have a core of 12 or so players that play together and form the team, funding and all. When they go to a tournament they will bring in 2-4 star players who play for free because they want to win. The parents of the core 12 have bank roll the ringers in their original fees they pay at the start of the year. This has become the norm. I know first hand on several occasions where kids have gotten all expense paid tournaments air fare, food and hotel.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:25 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Red_Baron View Post
I think it is a sad state of affairs when they are telling kids that young that they are elite. Minor hockey has always had ugly politics and this only makes it worse. It has become more of a status symbol to have a kid in an "elite" program and it is going to make it tough for a late blooming kid due to the fact that he hasn't been part of the "elite" social system since he was 6. There are going to be some excellent athletes that are left behind and sub-standard athletes playing on rep teams just because they've been part of the so-called team for this long.
The thing is that a kid dominating Tim bits doesn't help anyone. Spring Hockey originally was for elite players to have equal elite competition, which doesn't exist in minor hockey until the kids are 11 or 12 most of the time.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #27
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Just finished reading a great new book on the topic by Ken Campbell (from the Hockey News). An eye opener for sure....

http://www.penguin.ca/nf/Book/BookDi...065738,00.html
Here he is in conversation with Maclean's. It was a real eye opening read.

http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/01/20/y...-a-future-fan/

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Q: The most shocking fact in your book might be that the $10,000 or $20,000 a year parents believe they’re “investing” in an NHL contract or NCAA scholarship for their kid would quite literally be better spent on the lottery.

A: I’ve had people ask me, ‘What do I have to do to get my kid a hockey scholarship?’ My answer would be, ‘Take all the money you’re putting into minor hockey and put it in a GIC. By the time your kid is ready to go to college, you’re going to have more than enough to pay for it.’ People seem to think schools are throwing scholarships around like candy. In fact, there are only about 50 schools in the U.S. offering Division I NCAA scholarships, and most of those are going to American kids. Hardly any schools offer full-ride scholarships any more.

Q: The most striking story is that of a family from near Pittsburgh who lived on their sailboat off Port Credit, Ont., just so their son could play in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, because it’s considered one of the country’s premier minor hockey circuits. What became of them?

A: The kid played three seasons and actually did reasonably well. He went to play junior in the USHL and last year was the backup goalie at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. But the chances of him doing anything in hockey beyond the college level are pretty remote. And the parents, who both quit their jobs and came to live with him in Toronto, have since split up. I don’t know whether this experience had anything to do with it, but they’re back in the U.S. trying to rebuild their lives.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:48 PM   #28
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The OP was in regards to spring hockey, which is a whole different can of worms then minor hockey, so lets stick to that, I will outline some of the differences. Spring hockey is essentially unsanctioned, meaning no residential rules regarding where kids play. Also no governing body such as Hockey Alberta to handle discipline, officiating, game times etc... As well most spring clubs are private "for profit" businesses.

I became involved in spring hockey in 2006 with a 6yr old. Back then there were only a handful of teams around. Top Guns, S A selects, Foothills Elite and the Wolverines. It was at the time considered AAA. Less then three years later there were nearly 10 teams. The focus was no longer on giving kids high level competition which really lackss until pee wee in many areas, but on, making money and parents trying to avenge hurt feelings. anyone with an ice time and 12 friends with kids became a AAA spring team. If your kid was cut from one team you just went to a different team, or stated your own. If a coach benched your kid, you just went to a different team or started your own. Spring hockey, like so many other kids activities became a showcase for the parents. Back in 2006 local tournaments such as the Stampede Challenge and the showdown in in Cowtown were top level competition having 6 or so teams in each age group with teams coming from Vancouver, Minnesota etc... 2009 would feature 8 teams in three divisions in nearly every age group tiered in to gold, silver and bronze no longer AAA, the teams were nearly all from Alberta as well. The the hockey was no longer elite competition.

Spring hockey tournaments are a full time job for the promoters, as the linked article mentioned. The same groups run tournaments all over from Edmonton to Winnipeg to Las Vegas which are usually poorly organized, poorly officiated and. There sole objective is to make money, and parents don't seem to care.

The costs vary from club to club depending n the number of tournaments, ice times and amount of travel. As well as track suits, jerseys bag, gloves etc.. but what has also happened over the years is that teams have a core of 12 or so players that play together and form the team, funding and all. When they go to a tournament they will bring in 2-4 star players who play for free because they want to win. The parents of the core 12 have bank roll the ringers in their original fees they pay at the start of the year. This has become the norm. I know first hand on several occasions where kids have gotten all expense paid tournaments air fare, food and hotel.
Wow. This is nuts. Seriously, assuming the above is all true... just wow, not sure what else to say. Bank rolling other kids so your little kids team can win? What the hell?

Anyway I find this thread both sad and hilarious all at the same time. When I grew up, my dad would always go over the odds of me making it. I know that sounds bad, but I think he was just trying to be honest, and keep me healthy and normal. A lot of what's being written in this thread, about a kid being so overly dedicated to a sport, just doesn't seem healthy to me. I understand kids get passionate, but I kind of think like fotze that maybe that passion is left unbridled because parents are hoping for something more. But it just seems so backwards if it's all about the parents, doesn't it? And if you're pushing your kid to be a millionaire, aren't there basically a lot better ways to get there, with probably less work overall? Maybe not... but I dunno... sacrificing one's childhood and youth seems like a pretty steep price.

It's not just hockey too... parents going crazy on extracurriculars... it's all very strange to me. My wife and I had a little kid a couple months ago... I couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams trying to force her into something because I have wild career dream aspirations for her. It sounds ridiculous, petty, materialistic and frankly wrong and a little depressing.

There is more to life.

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Old 02-05-2013, 09:55 PM   #29
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Hockey has become a sport of the upper middle class.

Can you imagine if a family spent $15,000 or $20,000 a year on mountain bikes for an 8 year old? They would be considered crazy.

And people wonder why soccer registration now far outstrips hockey in this country.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:33 PM   #30
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The OP was in regards to spring hockey, which is a whole different can of worms then minor hockey, so lets stick to that, I will outline some of the differences. Spring hockey is essentially unsanctioned, meaning no residential rules regarding where kids play. Also no governing body such as Hockey Alberta to handle discipline, officiating, game times etc... As well most spring clubs are private "for profit" businesses.

I became involved in spring hockey in 2006 with a 6yr old. Back then there were only a handful of teams around. Top Guns, S A selects, Foothills Elite and the Wolverines. It was at the time considered AAA. Less then three years later there were nearly 10 teams. The focus was no longer on giving kids high level competition which really lackss until pee wee in many areas, but on, making money and parents trying to avenge hurt feelings. anyone with an ice time and 12 friends with kids became a AAA spring team. If your kid was cut from one team you just went to a different team, or stated your own. If a coach benched your kid, you just went to a different team or started your own. Spring hockey, like so many other kids activities became a showcase for the parents. Back in 2006 local tournaments such as the Stampede Challenge and the showdown in in Cowtown were top level competition having 6 or so teams in each age group with teams coming from Vancouver, Minnesota etc... 2009 would feature 8 teams in three divisions in nearly every age group tiered in to gold, silver and bronze no longer AAA, the teams were nearly all from Alberta as well. The the hockey was no longer elite competition.

Spring hockey tournaments are a full time job for the promoters, as the linked article mentioned. The same groups run tournaments all over from Edmonton to Winnipeg to Las Vegas which are usually poorly organized, poorly officiated and. There sole objective is to make money, and parents don't seem to care.

The costs vary from club to club depending n the number of tournaments, ice times and amount of travel. As well as track suits, jerseys bag, gloves etc.. but what has also happened over the years is that teams have a core of 12 or so players that play together and form the team, funding and all. When they go to a tournament they will bring in 2-4 star players who play for free because they want to win. The parents of the core 12 have bank roll the ringers in their original fees they pay at the start of the year. This has become the norm. I know first hand on several occasions where kids have gotten all expense paid tournaments air fare, food and hotel.

What if your kid would rather play hockey year round rather than baseball or soccer? Would it make sense if Minor hockey just had two seasons?

Honestly, I have a 1 year old and I have no idea what I plan on doing, but if he's 6 and really wants to play hockey, I think I'd rather him do that than play soccer or baseball, regardless of whether he's AAAAAA or not.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:08 PM   #31
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500,000 Canadian kids play hockey each year and less than 1% will ever reach the point where they are making a living from the game. It seems that Edmonton and area produces significantly more NHL players vs Calgary and area and the fees are about 1/2. Even better is the rural Alberta advantage where many small towns pay fees of $200 per year and have unlimited ice. In Calgary with the shortages of ice most games are only 1 hour vs small towns 2-3 hours. These Elite Minor Hockey parents need to step up their game and move to a some small town in the middle of nowwhere AB/SK/MB so they can manufacture greatness with the right amount of ice.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:16 PM   #32
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Hockey has become a sport of the upper middle class.

Can you imagine if a family spent $15,000 or $20,000 a year on mountain bikes for an 8 year old? They would be considered crazy.

And people wonder why soccer registration now far outstrips hockey in this country.



The other cost to this is that some parents take the fun out of it. A recent study found that 62% of youths worried about not playing well and about making a mistake and 23% said anxiety could prevent them from playing in the future.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:31 PM   #33
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What if your kid would rather play hockey year round rather than baseball or soccer? Would it make sense if Minor hockey just had two seasons?

Honestly, I have a 1 year old and I have no idea what I plan on doing, but if he's 6 and really wants to play hockey, I think I'd rather him do that than play soccer or baseball, regardless of whether he's AAAAAA or not.
Playing one sport year round is nothing new. Club volleyball and baseball be it fall ball or a winter program have been around for over 20 yrs, since I was a kid. As well as soccer indoor, then outdoor, golf to. In the US this has been the case for years, especially in the southern states where it's always nice out. Who's to say what is right or what is wrong.

Growing up in Canada there is only one sport that kids have a shot to make it in, albeit a very unlikely one. People think it is a waste to spend time and money on hockey, but what about volleyball? Playing club volleyball can cost just as much or more then hockey. And what are the odds of anyone ever making a living in volleyball? A partial scholarship at best. People just like to come down hard on hockey and hockey parents.
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:32 PM   #34
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I worked in a local arena from 2001-2012, the amount of money some of these parents spend is amazing, but because they spend the money their kid gets to feel special being called "AAA" all spring and summer, meanwhile only 2 or 3 kids on the team are actually something impressive to watch.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:00 AM   #35
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A lot of what's being written in this thread, about a kid being so overly dedicated to a sport, just doesn't seem healthy to me. I understand kids get passionate, but I kind of think like fotze that maybe that passion is left unbridled because parents are hoping for something more.
I remember reading something about the passion that many elite athletes possess. I think it was an intro psych class and it described the difference between passion and obsession. I don't remember if it was supported by a study, but it was trying to argue that many high-level athletes tend to have an obsession with a sport rather than a passion for it.

Anyways, I tend to agree that committing your life in one direction at such a young age can lead to becoming obsessed or dependent. It would be very tough getting out once you're in your teens, especially if you haven't really experienced much else in life.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:12 AM   #36
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Wow, perfect timing for this thread to pop up since I'm wrestling with this decision with my son right now. He's just seven years old (first-year Novice) and is only interested in playing hockey. Personally I think mixing it up is healthier for a kid, but when I ask him about playing other sports like soccer he just rolls his eyes and says 'boring'. He's played soccer in the past but he was never as engaged in it as he is with hockey. I mentioned that there is a spring hockey league he can play in and that pretty much made his mind up.

I don't mind spending the cash on it since he truly loves playing it right now, and if he 'burns out' on hockey in a few years and wants to try something else, good for him, as long as he has something else to stay interested in.

Plus I love watching him play and truly enjoy competing in a sport. I'd watch my kid play a game vs watching a Flames game any day.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:07 AM   #37
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Kinda funny.

Parents having some kid flown in from out of province to play ringer for a tournement on their kid's team, and still convincing themselves that its THEIR kid who is going to be the one who makes it to the NHL...
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:32 AM   #38
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Same symptoms exist with other sports.... this is not only a Hockey issue. For example soccer.

Soccer is more intense than Hockey for the average kid, competitive players in Calgary (kids) will play 5 days a week (Fitness, Academy, Games & Practise).

There is very little off season with Soccer (Indoor ----> Outdoor).

Cost is high (Academy Fees) and concussions/injuries are a concern (seen way more broken bones with Soccer than at Hockey)

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:16 AM   #39
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Wow, perfect timing for this thread to pop up since I'm wrestling with this decision with my son right now. He's just seven years old (first-year Novice) and is only interested in playing hockey. Personally I think mixing it up is healthier for a kid, but when I ask him about playing other sports like soccer he just rolls his eyes and says 'boring'. He's played soccer in the past but he was never as engaged in it as he is with hockey. I mentioned that there is a spring hockey league he can play in and that pretty much made his mind up.

I don't mind spending the cash on it since he truly loves playing it right now, and if he 'burns out' on hockey in a few years and wants to try something else, good for him, as long as he has something else to stay interested in.

Plus I love watching him play and truly enjoy competing in a sport. I'd watch my kid play a game vs watching a Flames game any day.

A sport in the spring that can shake it up and have some transferable skills like hand-eye coordination and always moving with your head up that the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Joe Nieuwendyk and Joe Sakic all played?




Not to mention if the hockey thing doesn't work out, there are many scholarships to be had south of the border as well.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:57 AM   #40
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Yup....firm believer that the best hockey players have always been the best athletes...period.

meaning that, yes they play elite level hockey...during hockey season, and thats where all their focus should be as far as athletics goes.

Come the spring and summer though? ALWAYS play another sport. Preferably a team sport depending on age....baseball/fastball is a common one. Lacrosse as well. Golf is great for the whole hand/eye co-ordination thing as well as "thinking" the game, but doesnt spawn the same "team first" mentality all the better players usually have instilled. Yes a hockey school at some pont can be a good idea as well, but only for a week or so.

It also means the burnout factor is reduced dramatically. The social aspect is broadened when incorporating other sports as well although many of the same kids will be crossing over as well.

As said earlier...let kids be kids for god sakes and let them broaden horizons and not pidgeon hole them into one thing and one thing only...regardless of their passion for that one thing.

It would be like sending them to school and having them study only one subject all day. A ridiculous thought to even consider.
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